Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sidewalks, pavements, and roads

Sidewalks, pavements, and roads
Even though both South Africans and Americans claim to speak English we would argue that Americans speak American, an English dialect. :)

In South Africa we'd call the place where pedestrians walk a pavement whereas Americans would call it a sidewalk. What makes it even more confusing when South Africans and Americans converse is that Americans use the word pavement to mean road! So, my American friends, when a South African traffic officer asks you to walk on the pavement - really, he's not meaning in the road. Promise. ;)

2012 Cape Town Pride festival

Cape Town Pride festival
It's well-known that Cape Town has a large gay community, and it's also well-known that the largest concentration of gay bars, like Backroom Bar, can be found in Green Point. So, I guess it's no surprise that this year's Cape Town Pride festival will open on 2 March at Green Point's Amsterdam Bar.

The Pride festival will move from venue to venue each day from 2 until 11 March and funds raised at the event will be donated to the Pride Shelter Trust, an organisation that helps gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual people by providing them with short-term shelter in times of crisis.

If you would like to support the initiative, or if you're simply keen on 10 days of fun, check out the itinerary, grab a friend, and have some fun!

A lifeguard stands watch

Lifeguard stands watch
He stood for some time, watching swimmers enjoy the last half hour in the water before the sun finally set. While watching the lifeguard watch them I wondered what drives volunteers to keep an eye over people who often don't even realise that they're there, nor appreciate the time that these heroes have offered up. Is it the camaraderie, kindness, a sense of duty? Whatever it is, it's awesome that we have people like this around.

Read more about the Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club, whose members watch over this beach, and the non-profit organisation Lifesaving Western Provice. Perhaps once you have you'll even consider becoming a sponsor. :)

Three guys on a rock

Three guys on a rock
As the sun set, for some time I stood on the shore alongside a lifeguard watching the three guys admiring the view from the huge granite boulder. Apparently it's quite common for people to misjudge the power of the water rushing between the nestling of boulders.

After several minutes the guys caught sight of the lifeguard, realised that it was getting dark, and headed back to shore.

Sand castles on the beach

Sand castles on the beach
A friend of ours brought candles and a sand castle mould along to the beach to build something pretty for his daughter (that's her in the middle of the photo) to marvel over. Isn't it awesome?

It's kinda tradition that in summer folk sit on Clifton beach with candles until late in the evening. It's really beautiful and something that you should try to do if you visit Cape Town around this time of the year!

The rich and their yachts

The rich and their yachts
There certainly are degrees of wealth. Some people can afford beautiful yachts, some people only to take a sunset cruise on one, while others are only able to watch from the beach.

I fit into the middle group, which (to be honest) is a fairly sizable group! In South Africa, like most other countries, we have a huge difference in wealth between the poorest and the richest. The good thing though is that it seems (to me at least) that the curve is flattening slightly. While we still have the very rich, and very poor, it seems like the wealth in the middle group has (over the last 10 or 20 years) spread out a little.

Or, fellow South Africans, is that my perception only?

Two girls silhouetted

Two girls silhouetted
Moments after I took this photo a large wave smashed against the other side of the rock that these two young girls were standing on. Click on the second photo below to see what I mean. Fortunately it seemed as though their cameras and cell phones, though a little damp, survived the spray. :)

It was really, really, hot at Moonstruck

People at the beach wading into the sea
You would think that after living in Cape Town our entire lives we'd have know that it would still be crazy-hot on the beach after 6pm. Only about 30 minutes before the sun finally set on Clifton 4th beach did it start to cool down - and then only by a few degrees.

Read more about Cape Talk, the NSRI, and Moonstruck in my previous post.

Moonstruck 2012 at Clifton 4th beach

Moonstruck 2012 at Clifton 4th beach
Each year 567 Cape Talk radio hosts Moonstruck on Clifton 4th beach. A medium-sized stage is erected on the beach and about 7000 people turn up between 5 and 6pm to have fun with friends, picnic under the setting sun, and listen to live music until long after the sun has set.

In case you're wondering, Moonstruck isn't only about the awesomeness of a huge beach party. The event is run to raise money for the National Sea Rescue Institute, better known as the NSRI. I've written about the work that the NSRI do a couple of times - read more about the organisation, and how you can help, here and here.

I'll post a few more photos tomorrow, but right now it feels like my eyelids are flapping around my knees and it's become apparent to me that it's probably time call it a night. 'Night folks! :)

It’s Bougainvillea, like panacea

It's Bougainvillea, like panacea
It must be 9 times out of 10 that when I hear someone name this plant they call it a Boganvilla - you know, like a villa that you'd live in. I kinda smile, while thinking of Roman villas, a villa at the sea, the villas in Camps Bay, and then nod knowingly, usually in agreement that the plant is extremely beautiful and yet an evil tyrant of the garden.

The Bougainvillea is very common in gardens all over our province. They're most often this purple-pink colour, but sometimes you'll find ones with orange or even white flowers. The reason for me referring to them as evil tyrants of the garden is that they grow like demons and bear long, hard, sharp thorns that cause their victim to itch for hours after being pricked. Also, they tend to makes gardens look extremely messy once their pretty purple bits fall to the floor as ugly semi-translucent pieces of brown.

I have a love/hate relationship with the plant. And, for what it's worth, we have three in our garden. I have nightmares. :)

Waiting at traffic lights

The Big Issue turns 15
In case it's difficult to see from such a close-up shot, this photo is of a button attached to a traffic light - you know, that magic button that changes traffic lights to red for cars and green for pedestrians. :)

The photo reminds me of the people who I often see waiting at large intersections selling copies of The Big Issue. If you've visited Cape Town you, for sure, must have seen them too.

The Big Issue is 15 years old today, they've published 192 editions and have helped hundreds (probably thousands) of people get back on their feet. Now that's something for a non-profit public benefit organisation to be proud of!

The Big Issue employs homeless and unemployed people as vendors on a profit-sharing basis, sharing 50% of the retail cost of the magazine with the vendor. Instead of giving these people a once-off meal or a place to sleep, The Big Issue help them take charge of their lives by giving them a way to earn money. Each time you spend R18, R9 goes to the vendor and the rest gets funneled back into producing the magazine. Isn't that an awesome concept?

A chip on Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day
Perhaps you know, perhaps you don't, but I sure never knew that Valentine's Day was originally intended as a day to commemorate Christian martyrs. Isn't it strange how the day changed into a day to express romantic love?

On the sticker below the heart stands the word "tjips" which is an Afrikaans Anglicism of the English word "chips". Incidentally, the Afrikaans version is pronounced pretty much the same as it's English counterpart except that you almost spit the word out, holding the tip of your tongue lightly to the front of your palate.

Now, isn't that a strange sticker? :)

Mountain city

Mountain city
I'd imagine that most of the world's city-dwellers aren't use to having a mountain in such close proximity to the city in which they live. As you probably know, Cape Town is cradled by Devils Peak (in this pic), Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Signal Hill. I imagine it must be strange for many of our visitors to have such a large mountain in close proximity to the city.

Swinging tyres

Swinging tyres
Yup, that's right, South Africans (and Africans in general) are pretty resourceful when it comes to reusing what others have discarded. In some way, I guess, were the kings of recycling. :) I've posted photos of swings made from tyres twice before, here and here - don't you love 'em?


Over the years we've had several rose bushes in our garden but for some reason it seems like we're never able to keep them well-tended - they end up looking very "natural" (ie. scraggly and woody). Perhaps some day we'll up our game and treat them like the beauties they are. :)

A World War 1 memorial cannon

A World War 1 cannon
War is sad, and those who paid the great price for the sake of the safety of their countrymen should be remembered. The inscription on this cannon found near the top of Cape Town's Company's Gardens reads:

Erected to the memory of the officers, N.C.Os & men
of the S.A. Heavy Artillery who fell in The Great War
1914 - 1918.

Carriage rides!

White horses drawing a carriage

We're on the brink of Valentine's day, so guys, if your date loves horses then perhaps you should take her on a carriage ride. Chat to the Cape Town Carriage Company, I'm sure they'll be happy to be at your service. :)

Due to their size and strength these French Percherons were used as war horses in the day's of infamous crusades. Knights of old use to wear huge metal armor, carry large metal shields, and wield massive broadswords, so I guess it's obvious then why these 1000kg beasts were the obvious choice.

As time progressed and knighthood became boring, people started using Percherons as work horses, primarily in agriculture, often used to pull heavy ploughs through fields, draw carriages, and pull artillery around for the military.

Today these lovelies live a far more relaxed lifestyle under the care of the Cape Town Carriage Company. :)

A squirrel and the Legion of the Shadow Tails

A squirrel and the Legion of the Shadow Tails
One may argue that every appendage is important, but in the case of a squirrel, the tail is probably the most important. It's used to keep them warm in winter, to provide shade in summer, it's a means of communication, a counterweight to balance with, a wing and parachute for jumping between branches, and a shield when fighting.

Some would suggest that the Greeks gave them the name "Shadow Tail" because they use their tail to provide shade in summer. Don't believe it though - I overheard from a friend of a friend of a friend that all squirrels are part of a secret society, a club (if you will), that goes by the name Legion of the Shadow Tails.

Yes. You should be worried. You just need to look at the pics below to know that they're up to something.

Lamp post CT 3285

Lamp post CT 3285
I love these old street light numbers. My guess is that the number on the lamp post is used by officials when reporting faulty lamps. I'd imagine that it's easier to report that CT 3285 isn't working than that the third lamp in Paddock Avenue is faulty.

Cape Town could help you take better photos

Guitar on a wall
Cape Town has plenty of great places to take photos, but that's not what I mean by the title of this post. This is rather a shameless plug for a Cape Town-based company who have (in association with the University of Cape Town) managed to establish themselves as a leader in online education.

I visited GetSmarter's lovely offices in Observatory recently. Click on the last of the four photos below. Notice the polished concrete floors? Notice the scooter? Isn't that awesome? :D

So, Cape Town could help you take better photos because GetSmarter have offered our readers R500 off the cost of their part-time short courses in digital photography and Photoshop! The courses each include about 70 hours of learning (in the comfort of your own home) over a period of 10 weeks, and result in a certificate endorsed by the University of Cape Town. To take up their offer, click here and use "Cape Town Daily Photo" as the promo code when signing up.

P.S. If you're wondering, yes, I was tempted to take down the guitar and give it a whirl. ;)

A kid, a sprinkler, and a really wet sibling

A kid, a sprinkler, and a really wet sibling
I watched for a few minutes as the little boy used the sprinkler to chase his brother around the lawn at the Company's Gardens while their mother stood watching a little way away with a big grin on her grill. :) Aren't they cute?